Simply put, St. James High School broke the glass ceiling for high school football last fall. The Wildcats finished 15-0 and won their first LHSAA Class 3A title in 40 years.
Along the way, St. James ousted some notable teams from multiple classifications, including Class 5A runner-up Destrehan. And the accolades keep coming for the Wildcats, who dominate the selections on the LSWA’s Class 3A All-State team.
St. James coach Robert Valdez was selected as Coach of the Year, while two of his players, quarterback Shamar Smith and defensive lineman Sai’Vion Jones were voted MVPs on the squad selected by a panel of sportswriters from across the state.
“I’m extremely grateful and blessed,” Valdez said. “This was a special season for us as a team. The players and the coaches came together and believed in what we did each week and did their very best.
“Shamar is an unselfish guy who always put the team first. His natural position is wide receiver and kick returner and he played quarterback because that was where we needed him. He worked to become a better passer. Sai’Vion is like a blank canvas you can do anything with. He is like a sponge who absorbs everything. This year, he put it all together.”
Smith was voted the Offensive MVP after completing 140-of-245 passes for 2,012 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. Smith, a Texas-San Antonio commitment, ran for 1,267 yards, 27 touchdowns and a 6.1-yard-per-carry average as a senior.
Jones, a junior, took home Defensive MVP honors. He had 102 tackles, 13 sacks, 17 tackles for a loss, 17 quarterback hurries, four batted balls and two forced fumbles.
The Wildcats also placed wide receiver Shazz Preston (63 catches, 1,018 yards), offensive lineman Jaquon Jones, running back Sean LeBeouf (1,630 rushing yards, 19 TDs), linebacker Kaleb Brown (128 tackles, 14 tackles for loss) and defensive backs Brad Batiste (10 interceptions, 40 tackles, 10 pass breakups) and J’Kory Ester (seven interceptions, 50 tackles) on the team.
Division II select semifinalist University High and 3A quarterfinalist Madison Prep each placed two players on the squad. Offensive lineman Rashad Green, a Tulane signee, and defensive lineman Jaquelin Roy (96 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, eight sacks), an LSU signee, made the squad for U-High.
Defensive back Major Burns (63 tackles, eight tackles for loss, three interceptions), a Georgia signee, and receiver Joel Williams (36 catches, 743 yards, 11 TDs), a Kentucky signee, were Madison Prep’s players on the team. Ole Miss signee DeSanto Rollins of Parkview Baptist (46 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks) also made the team as a defensive lineman.
LSWA CLASS 3A ALL-STATE CHART
WR Shazz Preston St. James 6-0 185 So.
WR Joel Williams, Madison Prep 6-2 185 Sr.
WR DeColdest Crawford Green Oaks 6-2 145 So.
OL Gabriel Campbell Kaplan 5-10 173 Sr.
OL Jaquon Jones St. James 6-3 245 Jr.
OL Brock Risinger Sterlington 5-7 180 Sr.
OL Rashad Green University 6-3 310 Sr.
OL Jadon Lacour Marksville 6-1 308 Sr.
QB Shamar Smith St. James 6-0 190 Sr.
RB Sean LeBeouf St. James 5-9 190 Sr.
RB Trevor Etienne Jennings 5-10 212 Sr.
RB Steveland Williams McDonogh 35 5-8 170 Sr.
PK Alec Mahler St. James 5-7 170 So.
ATH Daniel Miller Marksville 5-11 185 Sr.
DL Sai’vion Jones St. James 6-5 234 Jr.
DL Jason Hausley Union Parish 6-1 251 Sr.
DL Jaquelin Roy University 6-4 305 Sr,
DL DeSanto Rollins Parkview Baptist 6-3 280 Sr.
LB David Ellis McDonogh 35 6-1 210 Sr.
LB Kaleb Brown St. James 5-9 185 Jr.
LB Cole Jones Sterlington 5-10 160 Sr.
LB Truman Faust Loranger 5-9 175 Sr.
DB Brad Batiste St. James 5-9 155, Sr.
DB J’Kory Ester St. James 5-9 160 Sr.
DB Dorian Eddins Sterlington 5-8 160 Sr.
DB Major Burns Madison Prep 6-3 180 Sr.
P Jaron Townsend Caldwell Parish 5-11 180 Jr.
KR Layton Rainbolt Sterlington 6-0 170 Sr.
OFFENSIVE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: SHAMAR SMITH, ST. JAMES
DEFENSIVE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: SAI’VION JONES, ST. JAMES
COACH OF THE YEAR: ROBERT VALDEZ, ST. JAMES
DeAndre Keller, St. James; Tyler Steib, St. James; Hayes Crockett, Sterlington; Harrison Womack, Sterlington; Eli Calliouet, Hannan; Grant Windom, Hannan; Jake Dalmado, Hannan, Jake Messina, Loranger; Dante McGee, Loranger; Bryce Vick, Loranger; Hayden Ridgedell, Loranger; Michael Simpson, Sumner; Dillon Cage, Baker; Desmond Windon, Baker; Colton Punch, Erath; Cedric Woods, Carroll; Tyrese Johnson, B.T. Washington; Braydon Flores, Marksville; Jadon Johnson, St. Louis; Glynn Johnson, Lake Charles Prep; Minnion Jackson, Green Oaks; Noah Devlin, De La Salle; Marques Mayo, Northwest; Gage Hebert, Erath; Jace Benoit, Church Point; Mike Pete, St. Martinville; Ronnie Tuberville, Albany; Dawson Brunies, Loranger; Terrence Jordan, McDonogh 35; Marquis Garrett, Crowley; Luke LeBlanc, Erath; Keith Baker, Green Oaks; Zeon Chriss, Madison Prep; Dillon Simon Lake Charles College Prep; Montrell Johnson, De La Salle; Luke Doucet, Iota; Rodney Dupuis, Church Point; Dallas Reagor, Sterlington; Trey Holley, Union Parish; Evan Joubert, St. Louis; Montaze Sam, Northwest; Trent Ginn, Union Parish; Chase Geason, St. James; Tony Gibson, Church Point; Kendal Harmon, Crowley; Quinton Butler, St. Martinville; Dylon Montgomey, Iota; Gabe Johnson, St. Louis; Keenan Landry, Jennings; Dwight Johnson, Iowa; Tyree Nelson, McDonogh 35; Dylan Stelly, Church Point; Tucker Derise, Erath; Curtis Cormier, Erath; Landon Doucet, Iota; Rodney Goodley, Crowley; Lamon Lewis, St. James; Gavin Laird, Marksville; Devonte Tatum, Caldwell Parish; Micah Davey, University; Wesley Maze, St. Louis; Quinn Strander, E.D. White; Xavier Kately, St. Martinville; Lane Toups, Erath; Andrew Ashby, Iota; Devontae Dismuke, Union Parish; Jahieme Johnson, Loranger; J’uan Seymore, St. Louis; Obadiah Butler, Crowley; Ceje Ceasar, Iowa.